by Colton Campbell

A high-ranking official in the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta spent the day at the University of West Georgia recently, inspiring students to pursue careers in economics.

Kim Holder and Dr. Stuart Andreason speak to studentsThe UWG Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy (CEEFL) hosts UWG Fed Day each year in cooperation with the Federal Reserve Bank, one of its partners in economics education. Visiting campus this year was Dr. Stuart Andreason, director of the Fed’s Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity.

“UWG Fed Day is my favorite event each year because we are able to share economics with our entire community all in a single day,” said Kim Holder, who serves as CEEFL director and a lecturer in the Department of Economics in the Richards College of Business. “The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta spends the day in Carrollton with our university students, high school students and teachers and the business community. Each group is diverse, but interconnected, and that’s part of what makes this event so special.”

Andreason spent the morning with senior economics majors in Dr. David Boldt’s seminar class, followed by lunch with the Rotary Club of Carrollton. His afternoon included meetings with students, teachers and administrators from area public schools.

In an afternoon session with middle- and high-school students from Carrollton High School, Central High School and Oak Mountain Academy, Andreason told attendees the topics they were studying were setting them up for the future.

“It’s really amazing to talk with students with such a wide range of ages — from middle-schoolers to college seniors,” Andreason said. “I don’t get enough chances to speak with younger generations of students and get an idea of what they’re interested in. Meeting them all at this event, I was struck by how much they’ve thought about their future careers — not just the college seniors, but the younger students as well.”

As the director of the Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, he conducts research and works across the country to support the Federal Reserve and partner organizations in workforce development, the labor market and economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income workers.

“The role of the Federal Reserve Bank is to set interest rate, regulate banks and support payment systems,” Andreason said. “Contrary to popular belief, we don’t print money, and we have no role in setting fiscal policy.”

The Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity, Andreason said, promotes maximum employment and price stability.

Andreason has been at the Federal Reserve since 2014 and previously served as a senior advisor on human capital and workforce development. He has published articles on workforce development practice and policy and labor market trends, including deep analysis of opportunity occupations, or middle-skill jobs that pay high wages. He is the editor of Developing Career-Based Training and Models for Labor Market Intermediaries.

Group photos of studentsPrior to joining the Atlanta Fed, Andreason was a research associate at the Penn Institute for Urban Research at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn IUR). There, he helped develop a set of indicators of livable and sustainable communities for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He was a fellow of the Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences at Penn and a Lincoln Institute of Land Policy C. Lowell Harriss fellow. Previously, he led two nonprofit organizations focused on economic revitalization in central Virginia and worked for the Pew Partnership for Civic Change.

Andreason teaches economic development analysis at Georgia Institute of Technology and serves on the board of the Center for Working Families in Atlanta. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in urban and environmental planning from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in city and regional planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

Kirby Criswell, a senior at Carrollton High School, who attended the afternoon session, wants to be either an engineer or an economist. UWG Fed Day may have moved the needle toward the latter.

“In our economics class, we have an amazing teacher who explains how the system works in vivid detail, but, being able to hear from someone who works in that environment every day was a really eye-opening experience,” Criswell said. “Today I acquired a lot of knowledge about the type of job I may want to do one day.”

Posted on April 5, 2018